My beloved Deacon Antonios,
St. John Chrysostom, the great father and teacher of our Church, speaking about the Sacraments of the Church says: “Where there are mysteries, much silence should prevail”. And Evagrios Pontikos repeats: “The ineffable I venerate in silence”.
On this sacred and unique moment of your life, during which God calls you through your Bishop to become a minister of His prodigious Mysteries, I do not wish to speak about the incredible mystery that is taking place now, neither do I wish to repeat things with which you are familiar. For this reason:
I will not speak to you about how great the Sacrament of Priesthood is, because I know that you have a deep understanding of this.
I will not try to explain to you how difficult and full of responsibilities the mission you are undertaking today is, because I know that you already grasp this.
I will not elaborate on how best you should do your work, so that your priestly diakonia not only may be pleasing to God, but also spiritually fruitful for our Church and for Korean society, because your long experience has taught you a great deal about it.
However, there is one thing about which I wish to speak to you, one thing I ask you to never forget: I ask you to please never become disappointed at the many temptations and harsh difficulties you may face during your service in the Church. I can assure you that the devil will fight you, just as he fights anyone who proclaims and strives for the continuation of Christ’s redeeming work in the world. However, you should never be afraid, “because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”. (1 Jn 4:4) In every obstacle you may find on your way, you must repeat what is written in the Psalms: “ O Lord, …Your hand shall lead me” (Ps 139:10) And our Lord Jesus Christ will lead you with His all-powerful hand in every step you take.
Therefore, “show courage and be strong and march ahead of the people that the Almighty God has entrusted in your hands… Do not let your spirit faint in the thought that the load that you have taken up exceeds your strength. Because, in case you were to carry the load all by yourself, then it would not simply be heavy, but it would be completely unbearable. Thus, since the Lord is He who can help you carry it, “cast your care upon the Lord, and He shall support you” (Ps 54:23) (St. Basil the Great, Letter 161, ΕΠΕ 1, 120-122).
The prayers of His Eminence Sotirios, Metropolitan of Pissidia, the Clergy and all the Laity Members of our Church will be with you in your crucified and resurrectional diakonia.
Our brother Deacon Antonios, now go and “do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:5), so that the Orthodox message of salvation may become known to our Korean brothers for the glory of God. Amen.